In July 2016, at the Fiftieth General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Staccato Powell was elected the One Hundred and Second Bishop in the line of succession in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AMEZ). As the prefect of his episcopal class, Powell was the first Bishop elected out of Eastern North Carolina since the venerable James Walker Hood in 1872.
As the Presiding Prelate of the Western Episcopal District, Bishop Powell oversees churches in the Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon-Washington and Southwest Rocky Mountain Conferences. Having more than 40 years of experience in evangelism, ecumenism, and ecclesial growth, Bishop Staccato Powell, undeniably understands the desires and needs of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
Bishop Powell hails from Hallsboro, North Carolina where he accepted the call to ministry at age 16. Soon after, at age 18, he received his first assignment to pastor. Bishop pastored in several churches in his native North Carolina with his last pastorate at Grace AME Zion in Raleigh. Bishop Powell also served as pastor in a congregation in St. Louis, MO and became the fourth pastor in succession to be elevated to Episcopacy.
Bishop Powell’s ecumenical reach and global evangelism are extensive. As an ecumenist, he served as Vice Chair of the General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical Relations for the Presbyterian Church (USA) and as a former board member of the National Board of the Interfaith Alliance, the Balm in Gilead Religious Advisory Board, the National Conference of Community and Justice, the World Methodist Council and the former United States Conference of the World Council of Churches. He also served as Chair and Coordinator of the “Great Gathering,” a collaborative meeting of the historic African American Methodist communions, African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and Christian Methodist Episcopal Churches.
Bishop Powell is currently serving an unprecedented second term on the National Council of Churches Central Committee. He is also a board members of Creation Justice Ministries, and ecoAmerica Blessed Tomorrow Leadership Circle. He is a founding convener of Black Methodist United, an assembly of senior bishops who are committed to addressing issues of social injustice in America, supporting job creation and training programs in the African American community.
Bishop Powell has evangelized on six of the seven continents, with extensive travel in Africa. He has delivered messages to the people of Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Egypt. He has attended each World Council of Churches Assembly since the Seventh Assembly held in Canberra, Australia in February of 1991. He also attended each Assembly thereafter, the Eighth Assembly held in Harare, Zimbabwe (December 1998), the Ninth Assembly held in Porto Alegre, Brazil (February 2006), and the Tenth Assembly held in Busan, Republic of Korea in (October/November 2013). Presently, he is Vice Moderator of the 11th Assembly Planning Committee
Bishop Powell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte; a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University; and Doctorate of Jurisprudence degree from North Carolina Central University. He also served as Grand Chaplain for the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
A father of two adult children, Staccato Keithan, pastor of Fisher Chapel AME Zion Church in Phoenix Arizona and Susan Elizabeth Nicole, Missionary Supervisor of the Western Episcopal District, Bishop Powell considers being a father his most cherished role.